Playing from piano sheet music

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Playing from piano sheet music

Postby DulciBob81 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:09 am

I have a bunch of sheet music written for piano. If I want to play these songs on my dulcimer, currently tuned d.a.d, can I play the music as written, or would it be better to transpose the music to key of d, or re-tune dulcimer to whichever key each piece is written in?
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby ronzuckerman » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:13 am

DulciBob81,

Very short answer: It depends.

Short answer: In DAD there are several keys that are possible without retuning. If you want other keys, you will either have to retune or transpose. If the music is too chromatic, you may have to change something, but it could affect the quality.

Long answer: In DAD (with or without a capo), D, G, A, Em, Bm, and Am are possible. G and Am are easier if you have a 1+ and possibly an 8+ fret. A is somewhat challenging since you have to hop over to the middle string for G# on the 6+ or 13+ fret. Em is possible as long as you don't have to play a D#. Bm is possible if you don't have to play an A#. With retuning you can get other keys. I have found that my DAD dulcimer can be retuned down as low as CGC without the strings being to loose and as high as EBE without the risk of breaking a string. There are lots of other tunings besides 1-5-8 that can get other keys, but the chords (in my opinion) are more difficult. It also depends on how chromatic the music is. If there are a lot of accidentals (notes outside of the key) or odd chords (chords that use notes outside of the key), it may be difficult, and you may have to make note or chord substitutions. Too much of that, and it affects the quality.

Ron
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby Skip » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 am

I think you can play in C with the 1+ also.
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby Casper » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:27 pm

You may find this article useful also...

http://www.dulcimersessions.com/home-mi ... -dulcimer/
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby GrantOlson » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:20 pm

If you have four strings and tune to Janita Baker's chromatic tuning, (DAA#D), you could at least play the melody in any key, just to hear how it sounds. You would still probably want to transpose, but it could help on a song with lots of accidentals.
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby ronzuckerman » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:43 pm

Skip wrote:I think you can play in C with the 1+ also.

Yes, C is possible with a 1+ and optionally 8+.

GrantOlson wrote:If you have four strings and tune to Janita Baker's chromatic tuning, (DAA#D), you could at least play the melody in any key, just to hear how it sounds. You would still probably want to transpose, but it could help on a song with lots of accidentals.
Grant

D-F#-A is another possibility if you have just 3 strings.
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Re: Playing from piano sheet music

Postby DulciBob81 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:10 pm

Thanks, all, for the info. Great advice and great article. I do have a capo, but I will try out all my options and see how I do.
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